CFA Society Chicago Book Club:

The Accidental Superpower: The Next Generation of American Preeminence and the Coming Global Disorder by Peter Zeihan

superpowerGeography is destiny.  Demography is second.  Everything else is a distant third.  That’s the takeaway from Peter Zeihan’s The Accidental Superpower: The Next Generation of American Preeminence and the Coming Global Disorder, which was the book of the month for the CFA Society Chicago’s Book Club in January 2017.  From settling the Nile Valley to deep water navigation and the shale oil revolution, Mr. Zeihan explains how geography influences almost every aspect of civilization from formation to eventual demise.  Landlocked countries tend not to have navies of any consequence.  Countries with neighboring threats tend not to have excess resources to project military power beyond their borders.  Countries lacking internal resources are more likely to engage in trade.  The fact that the US is facing two oceans and has no neighboring threats coupled with its need to secure energy and goods explains how she can—and has—projected her power abroad for decades in part to secure global trade.  The shale revolution and ample food supplies coupled with the rising costs of extra-continental labor and domestic supply chain alternatives such as 3D printing explain why she might no longer need or care to.  The conclusion is that a newly self-sufficient and relatively young US will withdraw from participating in global trade and security while the rest of the world collapses under the weight of its aging populations and competition for scarce food and energy.  How’d we get here?

To answer that question, rewind to the beginning of the book, which starts at the end of World War II, the most destructive war in human history, and the agreement that helped in part to ensure that it never happened again, the Bretton Woods Agreement, signed by 44 countries at the Mount Washington Hotel in Bretton Woods, New Hampshire.  In addition to the consequences of that momentous agreement, we learn that its namesake town and the Hotel at which it was signed were so overwhelmed the 730 delegates that descended upon it that the Hotel’s manager locked himself in his office with a case of whiskey at one point during the gathering and refused to come out.  Those anecdotes along with Mr. Zeihan’s wry sense of humor alone made the book well worth reading.  The Agreement’s consequences were threefold: (1) all the signatories’ currencies were to be freely convertible into US dollars at a fixed rate, and the US dollar was likewise to be exchangeable for gold at a fixed rate, (2) the US would protect maritime shipping, and (3) the signatories would be part of a “strategic umbrella” of protection against the common Soviet threat.

Just as geography had ordained that the WWII belligerents compete militarily to secure markets, resources, and shipping, the Bretton Woods Agreement with the stroke of a pen ensured that they would no longer need to.  Being freshly ravaged by war and facing a common Soviet threat further ensured their assentation to the agreement.  In addition to Bretton Woods, there was one more ingredient in the elixir that spawned the post-war boom: demography.  The signatories boasted youthful populations.  Few variables in economics are known with near certainty for any extended period of time.  Demographic variables are an exception.  At any given time in any given country, one can tell with reasonable certainty how many skilled young workers will be entering the workforce.  Skilled workers don’t magically fall from the sky ready to leave home and acquire gainful employment, as much as their parents may wish it. There is a pipeline from birth to school to adulthood.  Once in the workforce, laborers again follow a predictable life cycle. As they begin working, they begin paying taxes and saving.  As their savings grow, they deploy their savings into capital markets until they finally retire, spend down their savings, and increasingly rely on the next generation of tax payers for their welfare.  Here again the US, while still aging, is relatively young and demographically well positioned relative to the rest of the World, Mr. Zeihan argues.

The book club members welcomed Mr. Zeihan’s geographic and demographic analysis as a compliment to traditional economic and financial modes of analysis. The members did, however, cast doubt on some of his conclusions and predictions.  The first was the premise and title of the book, Accidental Superpower.  One member noted that the Founders were quite deliberate in their desires to build the US into a military and economic superpower, the subject of a recent popular musical.  No one gave serious credence to Mr. Zeihan’s prediction that Alberta, Canada, might become the 51st state.  If Mr. Zeihan had cast a critical eye towards the US and applied some of the same analysis that he applied to the rest of the world, he might have found similar fissures.  Many Western and Southern US States are net beneficiaries of federal aid and lament the federal government’s intrusions in their lives.  If armed standoffs like 2014 one with Amon Bundy in Nevada become more commonplace, it’s at least as plausible as some of Mr. Zeihan’s other claims that net-contributor states might leave those states to fend for themselves.  More importantly, Mr. Zeihan’s arguments about geography and physical capital didn’t seem as relevant to the Members as the author claimed them to be in the internet age, and one certainly doesn’t have to be a naval power to wreak havoc in the cyberwar era, as the US again learned in the 2016 election of Mr. Trump as President.

Alberta, Canada, might indeed become the 51st and prove the Club Members wrong, and even with its other potential omissions and shortcomings, Accidental Superpower was an eminently enjoyable and worthwhile read.

Distinguished Speaker Series: Dan Clifton, Strategas Research Partners

“Angry is the New Hope” was the title and theme of the presentation on December 6 from Dan Clifton, Partner and Head of Policy Research for Strategas Research Partners. Hope was the watch word of the Obama administration, but the surprise election of Donald Trump reflects anger in the electorate. This anger stems from the persistent, subpar economic growth since the end of the financial crisis. In the eight years since, growth in GDP has averaged just 2%, versus the long term trend of 3%. That 1% annual shortfall, has created a cumulative GDP gap of $2.6 trillion dollars. The support that Bernie Sanders received late into the campaign indicates the voter anger extends across the political spectrum, not just within the Republican Party.DSC_3255

While Donald Trump’s election may have surprised many people, beneath the surface there were several indications that he would prevail:

  • Audiences for the Republican debates were three times what the Democrats attracted in 2008, the last time there was an outgoing administration. Ratings for these debates were even greater than popular reality television shows suggesting a great interest in making changes in Washington.
  • Weakness in the U.S. equity markets in the three months leading up to the election has a reliable history as an indicator for a loss by the party in power.
  • The finance and energy sectors outperformed the broad market in the last three months, also predicting a Republican win.
  • Support for populist, “non-traditional” parties, is gaining momentum around the world as confirmed by the Brexit vote in the United Kingdom. The push for change is global, not limited to the U. S.

This global shift toward populism is creating an urgency for governments to get their economies moving faster again. Hence, the victory for Donald Trump. Clifton listed several areas of emphasis for the new Trump Administration:

  1. DSC_3257Greater geo-political risk—as we have already seen from the phone call to the President of Taiwan, Trump has little concern for protocol and his use of Twitter increases the chance of off-the-cuff communications.
  2. Trade Policy—Trump made bold changes to trade policy a key part of his campaign and as president he will have the power to enact many of them unilaterally. Will he do so without seeking the guidance of his advisors or the congress?
  3. Fiscal Policy—the financial markets have quickly priced in everything Trump promised to do during the campaign (witness the sharp increase in interest rates and stock markets). In reality congress is unlikely to give him everything he wants and, even that, more slowly than the market expects. In particular, congress is likely to be more concerned about increasing the budget deficit than will be the president.
  4. Tax Reform—done correctly, tax reform (unlike a tax cut) will be neutral to the deficit in the early years, but achieving it is difficult and slow. True tax reform has only been done once before (1986).  A key question is whether it’s done via budget reconciliation, which is very partisan and leads to compromises that reduce the effectiveness, or dynamic scoring which accounts for the stimulating effect of the reduction in tax rates. Clifton called repatriation of foreign earnings the crown jewel of tax reform with a forecast of a potential $1 trillion coming into U. S. over fifteen months. This will add to the stimulus impact from tax reform and fiscal spending.
  5. Stimulus spending—also difficult to get done quickly–see Obama’s disappointing efforts in 2009. Clifton thought infrastructure stocks had run up too far, too fast since the election and that energy-related projects will get the emphasis from president Trump. He is likely to give a green light to several dozen projects currently being held up by the Obama administration over global warming concerns.

Trump made repealing Obama Care a signature feature of his campaign but the Republicans in congress are unlikely to repeal it without a viable replacement (which they don’t yet have). More likely they will start by cancelling the surtaxes included in the plan. This will provide a little more stimulus.  The Dodd-Frank law is likely to remain in place, but will also face revisions.

Finally, Clifton predicted that lobbyists will enjoy increased influence in the new administration. Trump will be much more susceptible to their approaches because he is not the ideologue that Obama is.

In response to questions, Clifton predicted that James “Mad Dog Mattis will get the waiver of the seven year rule to allow him to take the Secretary of Defense post and he will be a tough negotiator in that role. As a consequence, David Petraeus (another former general) will not become Secretary of State.

There are several big hurdles in the road to tax reform. One is whether to enact “border-adjustable taxes” (also called the out-sourcing tax) that would prohibit companies from deducting the cost of imported goods from taxable income. This would hurt import heavy industries (like retailers) and help exporters.  Momentum seems to be in favor of it, but it would likely draw a challenge from the World Trade Organization.

The second hurdle is a restriction on using repatriated foreign earnings for share buy-backs.  While it would enjoy political support, it would be very difficult to enact, as money is fungible. It would also be counterproductive by reducing the amount repatriated, and limiting the capital gains take from buybacks.

To the last question about raising the debt ceiling, Clifton called this an under-appreciated, but very important point. It will have to be addressed by this summer and could interfere with the tax reform efforts.

CFA Society Chicago 30th Annual Dinner

135What a night!  It isn’t every day that we get to hear Cliff Asness speak and watch the Chicago Cubs become the World Series champions.  Who could ask for more?  The annual dinner is a time to celebrate new Charterholders and the vitality and diversity of our industry.

Old friends and new acquaintances greeted each 049other over the cocktail hour at Chicago’s iconic Navy Pier’s Grand Ballroom.  The festive mood continued during the dinner as more than 900 attendees sipped wine and enjoyed fillet mignon, cod and dessert while waiting in anticipation for our keynote speaker.

Doug Jackman, CFA, Chairman of CFA Society Chicago, welcomed the crowd and congratulated the staff and the 026Annual Dinner Advisory Group on planning such a large and successful event.  As our society celebrates its 91st year, he recognized present and past boards outlining how our society along with the Boston and Philadelphia society formed the CFA Institute in seeking education, excellence in practice and integrity.  Jackman thanked our generous sponsors and moved on to a critical part of the evening – recognizing the 170 new Charterholders who were all “smiles”.  Jackman reminded us that obtaining the CFA charter does not happen in a vacuum. He acknowledged the immense amount of time, effort and dedication it takes.  He also acknowledged those who supported the new Charterholders during their arduous journey.  As an example, the fiancé of a new Charterholder at my table reflected on the team effort required and how she had quizzed her partner on formulas and concepts.

Richard Ennis, CFA, and George H. Norton, Jr., CFA (Posthumous) received the Hortense Friedman, CFA Award for Excellence.  One of the most prestigious awards in our industry, recipients are leaders chosen for their commitment to excellence and contributions to the investment profession and their communities.  Norton was noted as being a founder of the CFA Society of Nebraska.

197

Michelle Seitz, CFA, introduced Cliff Asness and quipped that as evidenced by the robust attendance, careers take precedence over the Cubs game.  Seitz commented that as we gathered, we were celebrating excellence as competitors.

An icon in our industry, he is the Founder, Managing Principal and Chief Investment Officer of AQR Capital Management.  His stellar resume includes receiving five Bernstein Fabozzi/Jacobs Levy Award from the Journal of Portfolio Management, the James R. Vertin Award from CFA Institute and three Graham Dodd awards from the Financial Analysts Journal.  In his spare time, he serves on the editorial board of the Journal of Portfolio Management, the Governing Board of the Courant Institute of Mathematical Finance at NYU, the Board of Directors of the Q-Group and the Board of the International Rescue Committee.   Anyone who has read Asness’ 2009 letter to President Obama in response to criticism of hedge funds for not gobbling up Chrysler bonds in 2009 know that to call Asness dynamic would be an understatement.  We experienced this as Asness engaged us through an interview exchange with Doug Jackman.

046As mathematician, Asness has firm roots in academics and is one of Eugene Fama’s star pupils.  Jackman joked that Fama thinks Asness is one of the most gifted of his former students because of his superhero tattoos.  We don’t know if Asness has any tattoos but we do know he is a powerhouse who has moved the needle in the world of quantitative investing.

When asked how the University of Chicago impacted him, Asness responded that he felt 093he had a fair amount of luck and that Fama’s open mindedness was amazing.  He felt lucky to be in an environment where Fama supported his students.  Fama encouraged him to write his dissertation if the data supported it – even if it contradicted Fama’s theories. Fama was dogmatic but would change his mind if shown the data.  Asness wrote most of his thesis while working 90-hour weeks at Goldman Sachs and having two sets of twins that were eighteen months apart.  He joked that this was a “gross failure of risk control” which drew chuckles from the audience.  He commented on how the process for his dissertation was what we would now consider slow, sending versions of his work back and forth to Fama via Fed Ex. The interview migrated to hotly debated topics in the industry.

Jackman broached the active versus passive debate, an ongoing hot topic – especially for exchange-traded fund providers.  Asness ascertained that active managers provide liquidity needed in the market.  Active management is needed and has a vital place in free enterprise.  In terms of smart beta and a factor trade, he noted that it all comes down to what factors you believe in but data mining is a concern that we need to be aware of as investment professionals.

Robo advisors are another significant topic.  When asked where he thinks they will be in ten years, Asness answered that he really didn’t know the answer but believes that they will favor indexing and lower fees.  He went on to say that the dislocations in the technology world will embrace more factor and smart beta investing concluding that this could force our industry through a bad period for a short- or medium-term period and the growth will not be linear.

217When asked to weigh in on career advice and baseball, Asness stresses to go for something you are passionate about and if possible, lucrative.  When asked about Cubs versus Indians, the Yankees fan who rooted for the Cubs as a University of Chicago student clearly chose the Cubs.  Always a mathematician, he told us a story about how improbable it has been for the Cubs not to win the World Series for over 100 years.  If you compare this 110to the NHL model and the New York Rangers losing streak, there are n teams so a there is a 1/n chance of winning.  With less teams in the NHL, there was a 50% probability of the rangers not winning compared to a 33% probability of the Cubs not winning. The data tells the story.

We thanked Asness with thunderous applause and exited either to enjoy the post-dinner reception or to rush to a venue where we could watch the Cubs and their historical win.

A night to remember!224

069160096174

104239101

236221219
116

243

 

 

Volunteer of the Month: February 2017

volunteer-1888823

ram

Sitaram (Ram) Gundapaneni

CFA Society Chicago would like to send a heartfelt thanks to all of its volunteers who share their time and talents with the Society.  Today, we’re extending a very special “thank you” to Sitaram (Ram) Gundapaneni.  He’s the Membership Engagement Advisory Group’s Volunteer of the Month.

Ram has been a CFA Society Chicago member for more than four years, serving on both the Communications and Membership Engagement advisory groups since joining the Society.  Ram has led a small group of volunteers and organized Welcome Calls to over 500 new members, trained volunteers to make Welcome Calls by holding orientation conference calls, and attended society events to greet new members in attendance. Ram has also prescreened membership applications to be presented to the CFA Society Chicago Board of Directors, taken minutes at the Membership Engagement Advisory Group meetings, and assisted with the CFA Institute Research Challenge hosted by the Society.

Thank you Ram! We’re lucky to have you as a part of our society!

Thank you CFA Society Chicago Volunteers!

thank-you-490607_1920

The success of the society is a reflection of the ever-increasing dedication and enthusiasm CFA Society Chicago volunteer advisory group members’ display on a continual basis.

The CFA Society Chicago Board of Directors would like to thank the volunteer members for their contribution to CFA Society Chicago.  We know how valuable one’s free time is, and cannot tell you how much the Board and the entire staff appreciate all of the work you’ve done. We could not do this without the members’ involvement.

Annual Dinner Advisory Group

Kristan Rowland, CFA (Co-Chair), William Blair & Company
Stephen Moy, CFA (Co-Chair)
Melissa Binder, CFA, The Marco Consulting Group
Wonee Janet Dougherty, CFA, JPMorgan
Walid Fikri, CFA, William Blair & Company
Timothy Holt, CFA, Investment Mgmt Consulting Group
Douglas Jackman, CFA, Thomas White International Ltd.
Josh Mangoubi, CFA
Aaron Temple, CFA, RSM US
Bei Wang, CFA, KPMG Capital

 

CFA Women’s Network

Kerry Jordan, CFA (Co-Chair), D’Orazio Capital Partners
Marie Winters, CFA (Co-Chair), Northern Trust
Jenifer Aronson, CFA, Mosaic Fi
Karen Alexander, CFA, Institutional Capital
Kathy Buck, CFA, Fidelity
Patricia Halper, CFA, Chicago Equity Partners
Krista McLeod, CFA, Silverpath Capital Management
Mary Catherine Mortell, CFA
Maura Murrihy, CFA
Joan Rockey, CFA, Castleark Management
TanyaWilliams, CFA
Miranda Yu, CFA, Guggenheim
Susan Zeeb

 

Communications Advisory Group

Brett Bina, CFA (Co-Chair), Berenberg Asset Management
Peter Vinzani, CFA, (Co-Chair)
Brad Adams, CFA
Thomas Bernardi, CFA, Bernardi Securities, Inc.
Zachary Brown, CFA, Milliman Inc.
Michael Campagna, CFA, Duff & Phelps
Chris Fry
Sandra Krueger, CFA
Charles McGrath, CFA
Cynthia McLaughlin, Invesco Powershares Capital Management
Mark Toledo, CFA, Chicago Partners
Kevin Waspi, CFA, University Of Illinois at Urbana-Champain

 

Distinguished Speakers Series Advisory Group

Patrick Bourbon, CFA (Co-Chair), Promanage, LLC
Sunitha Thomas, CFA (Co-Chair), Northern Trust
Christopher Ashbee, CFA, Chicago Equity Partners
Andrew Baker, CFA
Pablo Brezman Cohen JCDecaux
Shivani Choudhary Ashland Partners & Company Llp
Jing Dai
Jeff Doblin, Tethys Partners
Bob Finley, CFA, Virtue Asset Management
James Franke, CFA, Rothschild Investment Corporat
Lila Ling Han, CFA, Aon Hewitt
Michael Honeycutt, CFA, High Tower
Aditi Jain, CFA, GE Capital
Robert Knezevic, CFA, Susquehanna International Group
Sandra Krueger, CFA
Brian Langenberg, CFA, Langenberg & Company
Cosmin Lucaci-Oprea, CFA, Brownson, Rehmus & Foxworth, Inc.
Eric Mandall, CFA, BMO Global Asset Management
Sonya Morris, CFA, Harbor Capital Advisors
Mary Catherine Mortell, CFA
Daniel Natale, CFA
John Nelson, CFA, Mesirow Financial
Tim O’Connell
Alan Papier, CFA, Nuveen Investments
Kenny Parzgnat, CFA, GCM Grosvenor
Kevin Ross, CFA, Advisory Research Inc.
Gordon Scott, CFA
M Nicholas Sims, CFA, William Blair
Amanda Stilmock, CFA, J.P. Morgan Asset Management – Institutional Americas
James Stirling, CFA, UBS Financial Services Inc.
William Suess, CFA, Silverpath Capital Management
David Watkins, CFA, SHA Capital Partners
Steven Wittwer, CFA, Great Lakes Advisors, Llc
Paul Yox

 

Education Seminars Advisory Group

Garrett Glawe, CFA (Co-Chair), Standard & Poor’S
Robert Mudra, CFA (Co-Chair), Ocean Tomo
Nasri Ashkar, CFA, Baker & Mckenzie
Edidiong Attang
Elena Black, CFA, Opportunity International
Shivani Choudhary, Ashland Partners & Company LLP
Lawrence Cook, CFA
James Daley, CFA, Morningstar
Yeshaya Dobrusin, CFA, Charles E. Dobrusin & Associates
Andy Feltovich, CFA, Northern Trust
James Georgantas
Tiffany Greenhouse, CFA, MSCI
Lee Hayes, CFA, Genesee Investments
Tom Hillman, CFA, Credit Suisse
Rida Iqbal
Ben Johnson, CFA, Morningstar
John Joyce, CFA, William Blair & Company
Kiran Kurian
Christopher Lakumb, CFA, Rivernorth Capital Management, Inc.
Adam Mayer, CFA Northern Trust
Charles McGrath, CFA
Cynthia McLaughlin, Invesco Powershares Capital Management
Matthew Morris, UBS Global Asset Management
Jeanne Murphy, CFA, CFA Institute
Christopher Newman C.N.A
Alan Papier, CFA, Nuveen Investments
Kenneth Parzgnat, CFA, GCM Grosvenor
Jonathan Pham KPMG
Nancy Prial, CFA, Essex Investment Management
Allyson Rasmussen, CFA, Ashland Partners
Nicholas Redmond, CFA, Oculus Asset Management
Kevin Ross, CFA, Advisory Research Inc.
Linda Ruegsegger, CFA, Chicago Equity Partners
Richard Swartz
Jinghui Tang
Aaron Temple, CFA, RSM US
Oliver Thomas
Cindy Tsai, CFA, Investment Envisioned, Inc.
Kevin Waspi, CFA, University Of Illinois at Urbana-Champai
Miranda Yu, CFA, Guggenheim Partners
Susan Zeeb

 

Membership Engagement Advisory Group
Maura Murrihy, CFA (Co-Chair)
Aaron Taylor, CFA (Co-Chair), Chilmark Partners
Erik Baaske, CFA, Northern Trust
David Bock, Ernst & Young
Joseph Grandis, CFA, BMO Harris Bank
Sitaram Gundapaneni, Northern Trust
Dillion Hoover
Brian Langenberg, CFA, Langenberg & Company
William Lee, CFA
John Mariscalco, CFA, Main Street Advisors
James Meixner, CFA, Robert Baird
Gerald Norby, CFA, William Blair & Company
Jonathan Pham, KPMG
Rebecca Smith, CFA, SouthernSun Asset Management
James Van Osten
Evgeny Vostretsov, CFA
David Walters, CFA, PFM Asset Management LLC
Kevin Waspi, CFA, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champain

 

Professional Development Advisory Group 
Jenifer Aronson, CFA (Co-Chair), Mosaic Fi
Andrew Feltovich, CFA (Co-Chair), Northern Trust
Chris Abraham, CFA, CVA Investment Management
Brad Adams, CFA 
William Anderson, CFA 
Nasri Ashkar, CFA, Baker & Mckenzie
Edidiong Attang 
Joseph Besch 
Jay Bullie, CFA, Fitch Ratings
Jim Daley, CFA, Morningstar
Yeshaya Dobrusin, CFA, Charles E. Dobrusin & Associates Ltd.
Pratik Doshi, CFA 
Anne Durkin, CFA, Main Street Advisors
William Fitzpatrick, CFA, Manulife Asset Management
Alek Gasiel, CFA, Northern Trust
Tyler Glover, CFA, William Blair & Company
Samantha Grant, CFA, Mesirow
Timothy Greive, CFA, Kaplan
Daniel Harris, CFA 
John Ide, CFA, J.P. Morgan Asset Management
Jiayao Jiang 
Spencer Kelly, CAN
Andrey Kochetov, CFA, US Bank
Kiran Kurian 
John Mariscalco, CFA, Main Street Advisors
Joe Maule, Northern Trust
Kenneth Parzgnat, CFA, GCM Grosvenor
Thanh Pham, CFA, Associated Bank
Kevin Ross, CFA ,Advisory Research Inc.
Umed Saidov, CFA 
Chenjie Sang 
Naved Siddiqui, CFA, Thomas White International
Michael Sullivan, CFA 
Rick Tauber, CFA, Morningstar
Marcus Velasco, CFA, Nuveen
Hee-Jin Yi, CFA, US Bank

 

Social Events Advisory Group 
Mark Cichra, CFA (Co-Chair), Kemper
Colin MacLean, CFA (Co-Chair), BMO Harris Bank
Ken Blickenstaff, Geneva Advisors
David Bock, Ernst & Young
Pablo Brezman Cohen, JCDecaux
Andrew Bushey, CFA, Skyline Asset Management, LP
Taylor Champion, CFA, US Trust
Matthew Copeland, UBS Global Asset Management
Christopher DeMale, CFA, NFP Retirement
Chris Fry 
Adan Galvan, CFA, Ativo Capital Management
James Georgantas, CFA,  Boyd Watterson Asset Management
Ahmet (Tolga) Guder, Northern Trust
Rishabh Halakhandi, CFA, Thomas White International, Ltd.
Dillion Hoover 
Michael Honeycutt, CFA, High Tower
Kyle Hutchins, SG Capital Management
Aditi Jain, CFA, GE Capital 
Dan Lekan, CFA 
William Lee, CFA, Neuberger Berman
Jian Li, CFA, Morningstar
Christopher Lozynski, CFA The Tlp Group, Llc
Mario Manfredi, First Trust Advisors
Matthew McLaughlin, CFA, William Blair
Kimberly Merchant, CFA, BMO Harris Bank
Daniel Natale, CFA 
Zachary Rosenstock, CFA, Segall Bryant & Hamill
Mateusz Rudzinski, JP Morgan Chase
Hisham Sayeedi, Northern Trust
Naved Siddiqui, Thomas White International
Nicholas Tan, CFA 
Bei Wang, CFA 
Seth Williams, Fitch Ratings